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This day…

On July 11th 2010 my grandmother Margarethe Gruber had died. It was an unexpected death, an accident she had on her beloved terrace in front of her beautiful little house in the mountains took her from us. She was 86 years old, her sight was bad and she barely could walk. Still, she loved her daily walks, winter or summer, she started in the morning and walked through the woods around the little village she was living in. Most of the time she went alone, but often one or more of us joined her. She then talked a lot, she had a good sense of humour and, may I add, a very black brand of it as well. “Gretl” loved her football (no, it’s not called soccer). She didn’t have a team she specifically preferred, she was up to date with all who played Champion’s League in that year – or European or World Cup. Sure, she didn’t prefer a team, but she had teams she not only simply disliked, no, downright despised and hated. I wouldn’t name them here as I don’t wish to offend. When watching football she sat very closely to the TV, more to hear than to see and be in midst of the action. When “her” team (which varied) was losing, she pulled out her hair and screamed at the screen from her front row spot in the living room football arena. Then she cursed the coach and the whole team up to their ancestors in times before the wheel was invented. Still, she seemed convinced that football existed back then. Oma, as we use to say here in Austria to our Grandmothers, loved her football, but playing a game of “sixty-six” she enjoyed even more. Till this day I don’t exactly know how this game of cards, which she dearly loved, works. But that didn’t matter because there always seemed to be exceptions from exceptions from the rules. Grandma might have been nearly blind but she still could see which card one of her opponents played. And don’t you DARE and try to trick her. She knew exactly which card it was and she’d call everyone out who tried to cheat. When she had a very good deck she used to smile her little smile and all the little wrinkles in her faced seemed to smirk with her. You just knew you’re in trouble. And then she delivered, boy, she delivered. She took down the whole table alone at once.

My younger sister, my two cousins and I used to spend a big part of our school holidays in winter and summer with my grandparents. In winter granddad used to go skiing with us, while grandma preferred sledging. She didn’t like it when we were too wild, especially since we always tried to outdo each other with stupid ideas. Not that I was the one who said she wouldn’t be a chicken and brake too early before a curve. Nope. Totally never happened. I also didn’t bounce against the planks in the curve. That also never happened. See, she absolutely had no reason to be worried.

In summer we used to go swimming in a nearby mountain lake. Naturally it wasn’t very warm and even more this was the case after a week of summer rain. Well… On one day after a week like this our grandma talked us into going swimming. But as we arrived there my sister and I refused to go into the water since nobody was in it. Granny than took off her clothes to her swimming suit and marched into the water like it was warm sea water. She said it wasn’t cold and that we’re just spoiled little ducklings. Of course we couldn’t take that without a fight and went into the water. BAD mistake. It was like diving straight into a glacier. I was surprised the lake wasn’t frozen. And grandma laughed and laughed and laughed and swam circles around us while doing so. She was like a swim cap-wearing dolphin.

I miss her.

Tribute

Here’s my  newest drawing, a hopefully worthy tribute to the late Metal god Ronnie James Dio. On May 16th was the fifth anniversary of his passing.

And because it’s true: Ronnie’s Metal, he’ll never die!

Five for Today – The German Language Metal Edition

So, for today I’d like to discuss five Metal bands from Germany who sing/scream/growl in German language.

  • Rammstein –“Mein Land”

This may not be Rammstein’s best song, but it is a funny one. The video is directed by Jonas Åkerlund, a genius in creating music and especially Metal videos. Fun fact is he was for a short while Bathory’s drummer, which is great since I like Bathory a lot. For me they’ll forever be the first Pagan/Viking Metal band, some even say Black Metal, but I’m going with Venom here. I like that Åkerlund still lives Metal – which shows in the quality of his work.

The story behind the song/video is that Till travelled to the USA and wanted to go fishing/swimming but everywhere he went was “private property”. Coming from Ex-Eastern Germany, which was ruled by communists, this way of thinking was completely incomprehensible to him. Even now you don’t find many private beaches in Europe, though it’s getting more and more like this, which I personally find extremely sad. We don’t need to sell out everything. It’s like giving freedom a price tag.

 The video has two “acts”: First part is a mixture between happy cliché 50’s American beach life and “Baywatch”, with Till playing The Hoff. Smiley faces all around and the bathing clothes the band is wearing is very civilized and well-behaved. Their hair looks ridiculous, too. Nice “Beach Boys”. The second act of the video is much, much darker. It shows a beach party at night, with Rammstein playing as they really are, including FIRE. Did I mention I love their fire show? I love it! Once saw them live. When you see them and you don’t feel like a human torch then it wasn’t a Rammstein concert. Well, back to the video: The party escalates. Nice, sweet people at day, dirty mean b***** at night. Nice metaphor, too. What is done in the dark will be brought to the light… People showing their real faces.

Originally I had chosen Rammstein – “Ich Will”, but I wasn’t able to find the original video on YT anymore. So, I had to change plans. But here is what I initially wrote: Heard this song over and over, but it never gets old – especially when you understand German. The video is a masterpiece. Because it shows unfiltered the true faces of all involved. How far would you go for fame? To be notorious. Good or bad, the chief thing is to be noticed. To be heard, to be seen, to be feeled. And the people cheering on the criminals. The TV stations trying to get interviews. Observer and observed. The public as voyeurs. There’s so much more in it. It is perfection. I like how they look in the video, especially Till. He has a great presence, always. He’s huge. The way he moves – perfect frontman. I also like how he studied old German theatre-language. The intonation is perfect for their songs.

  • Edguy – “Rock Me Amadeus”

 

Nothing wrong with having a little bit of fun from time to time. Perfect cover. As an Austrian I am exceptionally pleased with this one. Falco was a genius. His “Rock Me Amadeus” was the only song in German language which achieved the top spot at the Billboard Charts as well as in the UK Top 40. Also, Edguy is a sympathetic and great band. There are some covers of this song out there, f.e. from German Metal band Megaherz as well. But I like the Edguy version best – because it is the most accurate one regarding lyrics and pronunciation and it simply rocks the most.

  • In Extremo – “Feuertaufe”

I like all of their stuff, old or new. This is one of their newer songs. I didn’t feel like posting one of the classics, but you can check them out: “Werd ich am Galgen hochgezogen”, “Vollmond” (this is the song I’d normally post), “Spielmannsfluch”, “Erdbeermund”… and so on. Everything they touch turns to gold in the shape of Medieval Metal. The mix of old and new instruments works very well and I love, love, love Rhein’s voice. His stage name is “Das Letzte Einhorn” = “The Last Unicorn” Which, btw, is one of my favourite animated fantasy movies (and America’s “The Last Unicorn” –Goosebumps all over). Rhein’s voice is rough and beautiful at the same time. May I add that I think that it is epic that his surname is “Rhein” – like the legendary German river. Ah, told ya – mental leaps.

 On a funny note: Originally there were two bands: A medieval music band and a Rock band. They merged into one Medieval Metal band that rocks so, so much. I had the pleasure to see them at “Festung Kufstein” one of the biggest ancient fortresses we have here in North Tyrol. You can google it, it’s really impressive. Sometimes I can’t believe how close we are here to history. It’s like a time machine. In July there’s a big medieval festival at “Burg Ehrenberg”. People from all over Europe are attending. You can see swordfights, big war horses, knights in their shiny armour, archers, pretty maidens… Also, there’s a big market and a medieval tent camp. People look in bewilderment when you’re dressed in your every day attire J Happened to me last year. So, next time I’d better attend in medieval clothing. So much fun. And they have medieval food and drink. And bands. Well, I see, I have to go there again.

  • Schandmaul – “Walpurgisnacht”

Another German Medieval Metal band. This song was the one that caught my attention as I heard them for the first time. It makes you instantly happy and want to sing and dance. And boy, I did. Like an idiot. Still have to! Lindner has a clean and beautiful baritone voice, it isn’t rough as Rhein’s. Schandmaul remind me more of the traditional German “Liedermacher”, meaning they’re more like medieval German bards. Their ballad “Willst Du” is one of the most beautiful love/wedding songs. I like singing it, tbh. I sing it a lot. It’s great to train and deepen the voice. Another song I could recommend is “Teufelsweib” – “Devil’s girl”.

  • Subway To Sally – “Kleid aus Rosen” (acoustic version)

Also a German Medieval Metal band. Their music has some industrial elements in it as well. Nonetheless I chose an acoustic version of their song “Kleid aus Rosen” = “Dress Made of Roses”. The song’s about a young girl who sees a tattoo-artist and wants him to give her a tattoo, too. But he refuses because of her age. But she’s persistent. She comes every day to his shop until he gives her what she wants. No one ever knew which price she paid. It can also be seen as a metaphor of losing virginity. Maybe not just in a physical way but also losing a virginity of the mind. Great multilayered meaning, at least I see it like that.